CAPT John Robert Exell relieved CAPT David Joe Vogel at a Change of Command Ceremony for the Naval Sea Systems Command's (NAVSEA) Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (SUPSHIP), New Orleans, Wednesday, 12 December 2001.
RADM Charles Young, Vice Commander, NAVSEA, was the principal speaker. In his remarks, RADM Young reflected on CAPT Vogel’s service to NAVSEA. He applauded CAPT Vogel’s efforts, which he said had created a dynamic three-year resurgence in quality assurance by SUPSHIP personnel and forged a long sought after strategic partnership with
SUPSHIP New Orleans' lead supplier—Northrop Grumman Avondale Industries. Among achievements that RADM Young cited were the trials and delivery of the first five Bob Hope Class strategic sealift ships
; the dramatic success of USNS Pililaau's (T-AKR 304) sea trials and delivery; and the completion, trials, and commissioning of USCGC Healy (WAGB 20), the first Coast Guard icebreaker constructed in 25 years and the first American surface ship ever to reach the North Pole unescorted.
RADM Young said that throughout his tour, CAPT Vogel “has led the SUPSHIP New Orleans team to unparalleled achievements. In his work at NAVSEA, he has been an inspiring leader for the entire SUPSHIP community. He has given us a vision of the SUPSHIPs’ role in support of the needs of our Fleet today and for the future. He also showed us how to realize that vision. His work has consistently brought about exemplary results across the spectrum of responsibilities here.”
The ceremony capped CAPT Vogel’s final tour as a naval officer. He will retire from the Navy in February with nearly 28 years of commissioned service. He was graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974. During his distinguished naval career, he was Chief Engineer in USS Independence
(CV 62). “Indy” received the coveted Engineering “E” for both years of Captain Vogel’s tour. Carrier Chief Engineer assignments are considered among the most challenging afloat assignments for Engineering Duty Officers. Other SUPSHIP experience included tours at SUPSHIP San Diego as a Ship Superintendent and Quality Assurance Officer, and Deputy Supervisor at SUPSHIP Pascagoula.
RADM Young welcomed CAPT Exell back to SUPSHIP New Orleans from his most recent tour as Commanding Office of the Engineering Duty Officer School, Port Hueneme, California. In his remarks, CAPT Exell noted that it was the people of SUPSHIP New Orleans that drew him back, saying, “I am ready to lead you and serve you if you will but give me the honor of following and teaming with me.” He added, “To my partners in shipbuilding, the shipyards that manufacture quality products for our Navy and sister services, I am ready to join your team. I look forward to working with each of you as we provide the affordable and quality products our customers deserve to go forth in harm’s way and defend our freedom.”
An unusual feature of the event was the attendance of four former SUPSHIP New Orleans skippers, all now retired: RADM Jim Lisanby (1973), CAPT John Donahue (1989-93), CAPT Jeff Perin (1993-95) and CAPT Dave Whiddon (1995-98). Counting CAPTs Vogel and Exell, and CAPT Phil Johnson, the incumbent SUPSHIP Pascagoula, there were many years of SUPSHIP command expertise in New Orleans today.